So Spring Break has finally arrived, and with it, the scheduling begins! Over the last few years, I have learned from past blunders, that the best way to decrease anxiety and to help us all enjoy “the break” was to schedule the week as much in advance as possible. It doesn’t mean everything, of course, but just enough so we all know what we’re doing and I don’t have Michael asking me, “Who am I seeing today Mommy?” OR “Where are we going?” We make alternate plans if we have things scheduled for outside or out of town as these things can’t happen unless weather permits, but it all ends up working out for the best whatever we do. Saturday morning we did our “dry erase board schedule”, where Michael writes out or rather draws out his schedule with marker on the dry erase board. He helps me (or else I) write it out in words on the bigger menu type dry/erase board after that. It helps us all know what to expect that week and we are all happier for it.
I have seen a maturity in Michael growing over the past few months. He wants to see friends, so I have scheduled some play dates, but he also enjoys running errands with me at the grocery store (and now asks for fruits and vegetables. :)), and is interested to go to places like museums, where he is not sure what will happen. He is beginning to like the adventure of it, the unknown, as long as there are some knowns in the picture. Today, weather permitting, we will be going to a museum in nearby Ottawa. He is very excited as are his Dad and I. We have warned Michael though that if the weather forecast is too dicey, we’ll stay in town and take him to a fun center or indoor swimming or skating. He is ok with any of the options. I am proud of this flexibility. In the past, there would have been a tantrum if original plans did not materialize. He has come a long way, and have I and his father in organizing him and ourselves better.
Exceptional Parents, how do you handle unexpected changes in a predetermined schedule, whether Spring Break or other, with your Exceptional child? How far have they come in accepting last minute changes, if this is still an issue? If they are still having difficulty, don’t worry. Take it one day at a time. Experiment with dry/erase boards, social stories, going with their cues for what decreases your child’s anxiety whenever you can. As long as you let your child guide you with what they are ready for, you will have success as an Exceptional Family with any change or obstacle. Good luck. Until next time.